Australia downgrades outlook for Great Barrier Reef to 'very poor'
OK. I guess I should say something about this rubbish, as nobody else is stepping up to the plate so far. For a start, note that this is prophecy, not a factual report. They are prophesying that the reef will deteriorate. Given the erratic influences on the reef (unpredictable cyclones, unpredictable starfish attacks, sea-level oscillations etc), this is simply a stab in the dark. Many things could happen and nobody knows which will.
Secondly this is not a report of any objective measurements. It is "based on a qualitative assessment of the available evidence." Note: qualitative, not quantitative. It is in short simply an expression of opinion from people with a vested interest in alarm
And pointing the skinger of forn at global warming is the silliest thing of all. Where does the reef flourish best? Where does it display the greatest biodiversity? In the far tropics. In the WARMEST parts of the reef waters. Corals LIKE warmth. Global warming would be GOOD for the reef. We live among madmen
Australia downgraded the Great Barrier Reef's long-term outlook to "very poor" for the first time on Friday, as the world heritage site struggles with "escalating" climate change.
In its latest five-yearly report on the health of the world's largest coral reef system, the government's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority singled out rising sea temperatures as the biggest threat to the giant organism.
"The significant and large-scale impacts from record-breaking sea surface temperatures have resulted in coral reef habitat transitioning from poor to very poor condition," the government agency said.
"Climate change is escalating and is the most significant threat to the Region's long-term outlook.
"Significant global action to address climate change is critical to slowing deterioration of the Reef's ecosystem and heritage values and supporting recovery," it said.
But the agency added that the threats to the 2,300-kilometre (1,400-mile) reef were "multiple, cumulative and increasing" and, in addition to warming seas, included agricultural run-off and coral-eating crown of thorns starfish.
The agency said the outlook downgrade from "poor" in 2014 to "very poor" now reflected the greater expanse of coral deterioration across the massive reef, notably following back-to-back coral bleaching events caused by sea temperature spikes in 2016 and 2017.
"The window of opportunity to improve the reef's long-term future is now," it said.
The conservative Australian government has faced criticism from environmentalists for favouring an expansion of its massive coal mining and export industry over action to curb climate change.
The United Nations had asked to receive the latest update on the reef's health by December so that it can determine whether the site can retain its world heritage status when UNESCO next considers the issue in 2020.
The reef is estimated to be worth at least $4 billion (£3.3 bn) a year to the Australian economy - serving as a magnet for tourists and emblem of the country.